Literature: Voices in Americana
There’s No Place Like Home: The Wizard of Oz as Political Propaganda – October 28
Although children’s lit seems like an unlikely vehicle for political propaganda, scholars have proven otherwise. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1902) carries overtones of the Populist political party’s agenda at the early part of the 20th century. Victor Fleming’s film The Wizard of Oz (1939) was released to the public seven days prior to Germany’s bombing of Poland.
Roberta Seelinger Trites, Distinguished Professor of English, ISU
He Loved America but He Didn’t Like It: Sinclair Lewis and American Culture – October 30
Sinclair Lewis, the first American to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, had a love-hate relationship with American culture. In a series of novels over 30 years, he examined small-town culture, business, medicine, religion, women’s rights, prisons, fascism, and race relations.
Sally Parry, Associate Dean for Academic Programs and Student Affairs, College of Arts & Sciences, Professor of English, ISU
Domestic Violence in Early 20th-Century Midwest Farm Fiction – November 4
In the Golden Age of Agriculture (1910-1929) farm life was considered idyllic–boasting good values, good food, and good people. Popular writers of the day, mostly women, explored this myth, revealing a pattern of domestic violence rooted in men’s land lust and profit-making. All was not well “down on the farm,” and the women of fiction find their fantasized revenge.
Mary Ruth Ryder, Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, South Dakota State University
The Evolving Reputation of Langston Hughes – November 6
Langston Hughes, despite being dismissed by some critics as a folksy, simplistic writer and referred to as “poet low-rate” of Harlem, defied the odds and built a global literary legacy still renowned years after his death. Learn of the life and writings of one of the most influential and prolific writers of the Harlem Renaissance.
Christopher De Santis, Professor and Chairperson, Department of English, ISU